Are Turkish forces planning a major offensive in Syria?

Following serious skirmishes on February 11 between the Syrian armed forces en route to retake the city of Idleb, and the Turkish army present around the city, which left more than 125 dead on both sides, Turkish President RT Erdogan promised on February 12 a response massive and extensive for strike Syrian forces "wherever they are". It now seems that the Turkish armed forces are actually preparing to walk the talk. Indeed, according to of media in Arabic language quoted by Tass agency, a military convoy of over 300 trucks and armored vehicles was reportedly observed crossing the Syrian border from Syria, to reinforce the forces already present. In addition, some unconfirmed reports have reported an "aggressive encounter" in Turkish F16 and Russian Su35 over Syria, without, however, ammunition having been fired.

For some specialists in the Syrian conflict, the standoff that is playing out today between Ankara and Moscow far exceeds the case of the only city of Idleb. In fact, according to them, RT Erdogan hopes to be able to exchange a withdrawal from the strategic city for the authorization of Damascus, and therefore of Moscow, to extend the control zone into Kurdish territory or the city of Kobani. But the Russian authorities seem determined, for the time being in any case, not to grant more Syrian territory to Turkey, which would transform the "security zone" under Turkish control in an annexation of pure and simple territory. As such, we can note the discretion of the Russian authorities on this subject on the international scene, and in particular that of Vladimir Putin, who is visibly seeking to initiate a de-escalation with Ankara. At the same time, the Russian aviation present on the spot does not seem to reduce its activity, a clear message as for the implication of Moscow next to Damascus if the conflict were to break out.

The Hmeimim air base houses between 20 and 30 combat aircraft of the Russian air forces, including the Su-35, considered to be the best Russian fighter of the moment.

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